While we love our beloved capital, we're always keen to venture to other cities in the UK, with Manchester being one of them. If you're taking a trip up North, you'll love the Northern Quarter’s creativity, Deansgate's cool bars, Ancoats' eclectic food and drink scene, and the many, many opportunities to shop. Here's everything you need to know, from where to stay to what to do.
Where to stay:
Stunning architecture meets a mix of Manchester style and Spanish warmth in one of Manchester’s hubs of activity, First Street. With restaurants, pubs, museums, boutiques and more nearby, INNSiDE Manchester is ideal for exploring the city - and it's dog-friendly. Within a five-minute walk from Deansgate and Oxford Road, there's a gym, sauna, restaurant and bar on-site, so it's the perfect base for a weekend trip (or even longer). With a helpful and friendly team on hand to assist with anything you need, well-equipped rooms and a delicious, varied breakfast, you'll probably never want to leave.
Also available to book on booking.com.
Located in the heart of the city, the Residence Inn is a new hotel within walking distance of Manchester Piccadilly. With 155 studios and one-bedroom suites, it's great for couples, groups and families to explore the city (and your pet can come, too!). This is a great option if you're staying for longer and prefer to cook your own meals, as the studios and suites come with a fully-equipped kitchen. There's also an on-site gym if you want to keep up your fitness routine while you're away.
Also available on booking.com.
Aparthotels are great for anyone looking to stay original (travellers, one-nighters, staycayers). They perfectly emulate the feeling of home – cook when you want, invite friends over, work or watch in your living room.
Native Manchester consists of 162 luxury and serviced apartments that sit within a Grade II listed building, complete with a lounge, restaurant, bar, all-day deli counter, takeaway shop, cinema, outdoor terrace, and fitness classes from BLOK. It's connected to everything Manchester has to offer, with a two-minute walk from Manchester Piccadilly, 5 minutes from tram stops and has an underground car park for those driving.
Also available on booking.com.
Where to eat:
Otherwise known as Manchester’s social hub, where you can do anything from answering your morning emails with a coffee in the lounge, to catching up with friends and family over a drink at the bar – although we'd recommend enjoying a delicious brunch in the restaurant.
Albert's Schloss is a popular haunt for tourists and locals, and for good reason. This alpine-themed bier palace has a delectable menu, live music, entertainment and great vibes all year round. Enjoy a classic schnitzel or share a fondue with your best mates, and dive into the extensive cocktail list before ordering a shot paddle at the bar. A brilliant place to start your night.
The Blues Kitchen has some of the most unique decor you'll ever experience, making it ideal if you're a fan of getting a pic for the grid. Stop off for brunch, lunch, dinner or bar food and experience the wonder of this historic building, or turn up for a night of excellent cocktails and live music in the venue situated upstairs. We particularly enjoyed the cheeseburger spring rolls and buttermilk fried chicken. PSA: It's perfect for hangover food and hair of the dog.
A Sunday roast is always a good idea, but especially after a heavy weekend. The Black Friar is a traditional pub with a modern twist, offering a classic menu of honest bar food. Under the same roof, sits a modern glass restaurant, surrounded by greenery, serving a menu of fine food using locally sourced seasonal ingredients.
Tattu is Manchester's best Chinese restaurant, passionately designed to take you on a sensory journey from East to West. The restaurant concept inspires everything from the colourful Chinese inspired cuisine, to the carefully crafted cocktails – everything is designed to be unique.
Where to get a drink:
Head to the Northern Quarter where you’ll note the city vibe change. The coolest bars and boutiques line every street around this neighbourhood, and it's also where you'll find Band On The Wall, an institute for music in Manchester. Its history goes back over two centuries when it was first a pub, and then in the 1930s became a live music venue. Over the years it's played host to many famous artists, including Buzzcocks, Joy Division and Björk.
For a night out with a difference, head to Alcotraz Manchester, which, as you might have guessed, is a prison speakeasy-themed bar near Deansgate. Put on your very own orange jumpsuit and get ready for some top-notch cocktails. Perfect for a hen do or stag do.
Hidden behind the guise of a laundromat, Washhouse Manchester receives rave reviews, and must be booked ahead of time. A bougie bar with a unique and ever-changing cocktail list, it's a bar everyone should experience at least once. We won't spoil the surprise - get it on your bucket list.
Where to party:
If you do one thing when you're in Manchester, let it be Warehouse Project. Each year's season runs from September through to New Year's Day and is located at Manchester’s historic former railway Depot Mayfield.
Where to work out:
Experience Native Manchester's new Dopamine Package, offering a wellness class at Native’s award-winning studio BLOK, flowers and bagels delivered to your apartment and dining at Native’s Ducie Street Warehouse restaurant. From barre to boxing, discover the benefits of cross-discipline training in a modern, unique space built for purpose.
Where to shop:
The City Centre
Manchester is a haven for shoppers having all the high-street favourites along with department stores and indie boutiques of its own. Along the main thoroughfare of Market Street, you’ll find H&M, All Saints and Zara, and there’s plenty more in the Arndale Centre. Selfridges and Harvey Nichols are very nearby, next to New Cathedral Street which houses Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Reiss.
For more chilled-out shopping and indie boutiques and jewellery stores, wind your way around the back streets of the Northern Quarter where you’ll find more artsy, creative stores.